Astro Bot Rescue Mission is so good, and I came so close to missing it. The latest PlayStation VR exclusive is an exceptional showpiece for the platform, but the barely audible buzz around the title speaks to PSVR’s woes in 2018.
It’s rare to play a game with such a clear sense of purpose. Its designers — Sony’s prestige Japan Studios team — want simply to delight you. Each level is a fountain of new toys, gags and ideas. Astro Bot Rescue Mission is a platformer keenly aware of the platform it’s on.
You and your controller exist in the game world. You play as a benevolent robot holding the DualShock. You aren’t an invisible god; the tiny robots you’re tasked with saving all know that you’re there. They give you pointers, celebrate your successes and sometimes tell you where to look. In the world of Astro Bot, I feel like we’re all in this together as they squeak at me with their little high-pitched voices.
And my interactions with the world felt direct and real.
My own little robot operates like a remote-controlled toy. It waves at me when it catches me looking directly at it for a few moments, and splats itself against my virtual visor when I get too close. My little robot friend never holds my mistakes against me, even though they sometimes culminate with his untimely destruction.